Examine Yourselves! Test Yourselves!

2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”

How to Examine Ourselves

Back when I was in school I used to have to take tests (exams) based on what had been taught me in the class, and on what I had learned in studying the materials given, and on me performing the required tasks. The exams tested my knowledge of what I was supposed to have learned to see how well I had learned it or if I had learned at all what had been taught me.

Well, in the case of what is being taught here, it is ourselves who we are to examine. But based on what? Based on the teachings of the Scriptures, and more specifically the New Testament where we are taught what it means to believe in Jesus Christ and what it means to be in him and in the true faith. But it is a must that we read the Scriptures in their full context.

And the reason that I say that is that so many people are teaching the Scriptures out of context, and they are twisting them to say what they want them to say. So, if we just cherry pick the Scriptures we like, and then we examine ourselves based on those, we probably will not have an accurate measurement of whether or not we are in the true faith.

Now obviously there is not the space here to cover the entirety of the New Testament teachings on salvation and faith, so if you are to examine yourselves you will need to read the New Testament books in context so that you make certain that you are getting a consistent picture of what it means to be of the faith. Here I will share select Scriptures, but ones which agree with one another and coming from several different Bible books.

Are You in the Faith?

Let’s start with the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught that to come after him we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him, in practice. For, he said that if we save (hold on to) our lives (of living in sin and for self) that we will lose them (for eternity). But if we lose our lives (die with him to sin and follow him in obedience), for his sake, that we will save them (for eternity) (see Luke 9:23-26).

Jesus also taught that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does (is doing) the will of God the Father who is in heaven. For, he said that on that day many will say to him, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then he will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (see Matthew 7:21-23).

Jesus also taught that if we love him that we will keep (obey) his commandments (New Covenant). And we will be loved by the Father, and Jesus will love and manifest himself to us, and God the Father and the Son will come to us and make their home with us. And he said that his sheep hear his voice (they listen to him), he knows them, and they follow (obey) him, and he gives them eternal life, and they will never perish (see John 14:15-24; John 10:27-30).

And then let’s move on to John and to what he taught. He said that it is by this that we know that we have come to know Christ, if we keep (obey) his commandments. For whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. And he also said that if we say we have fellowship with God while we walk (in conduct, in practice) in darkness (sin, wickedness) that we lie and do not practice the truth (see 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 1:5-9).

And John continued by saying that no one who abides in Christ/God keeps on (habitually, in practice) sinning, and that no one who keeps on sinning, in practice, has either seen Jesus/God or known him. For whoever practices righteousness is righteous, but whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil. And no one born of God makes a practice of sinning, and whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God (see 1 John 3:4-10).

And what did Paul say? He said that we (who believe in Jesus) were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (in him). He said that we know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved (addicted) to sin but so we would live as slaves to God and to his righteousness. For we are slaves of the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness (see Romans 6:1-23; cf. Romans 8:1-17; Ephesians 4:17-24; Titus 2:11-14).

And then we have all the Scriptures that let us know that if sin is what we practice and if righteousness and obedience to the Lord are not what we practice, that we will not have eternal life with God. We will not enter into God’s heavenly kingdom, but hell will be our eternal destiny. For we are all going to be judged by what we do, and if we live to please the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if we live to please God, then we have eternal life.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Did you pass or fail?

Now, again, I know this is not an exhaustive list of Scriptures so you will have to study them in context for yourselves, but this gives us a pretty good snapshot of what it means to be in Christ and to have him in us and for us to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For we can’t just pray a prayer to receive Christ, or just acknowledge who Jesus is and what he did for us, or just accept his love, grace, and forgiveness and then just apply them to our lives out of the context of what the Scriptures teach.

We must be those who are daily by the Spirit putting the deeds of the flesh to death and who are walking (in practice, in conduct) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. For God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his return. We cannot claim Jesus as Savior and Lord of our lives and heaven as our eternal destiny and yet continue in deliberate and habitual sin against God (see Romans 8:1-17; Titus 2:11-14; Galatians 5:16-21; 1 John 3:4-10).

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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